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Tarantulas In Missouri

There is currently only one known species of Tarantula in Missouri. This tarantula is mainly located in the southern and central parts of the state.

The Missouri River acts as a barrier, so these spiders aren’t found in the Northern parts of the state. Tarantulas are usually very docile and make fantastic pets for beginners.

Tarantulas are very shy and tend to make their homes in places with very few humans. They can be found in grasslands and dry areas with well-drained soil.

Tarantulas live in burrows under logs and rocks and other natural crevices. You can usually identify these burrows by webbing over the coin-sized entrance. These spiders spend most of their life in their dens to avoid predators like birds, skunks, lizards, coyotes, and foxes.

In the summer and fall, you might find these creatures walking along the roadside.

If you find yourself in suitable habitats like dry desert-like areas during summer or fall, you may stumble across a tarantula. These spiders are fun to hold and observe but always be gentle and make sure not to take them from their home.

Tarantulas In Missouri

1. Texas Brown Tarantula

Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) in dry leaves at the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area, Branson, Missouri, USA
A Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) in dry leaves at the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area, Branson, Missouri, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma hentzi
  • Other Names: Missouri tarantula, Oklahoma tarantula
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $25 to $50

The Texas Brown tarantula is the only known species of tarantula found in Missouri, and it’s the largest spider found in the state. This species is located in the following counties in Missouri; Greene, Henry, Hickory, Newton, Ozark, Phelps, Ripley, St. Francois, and Taney.

These spiders are commonly found in south and central Missouri, living in various habitats such as dry, rocky meadows, river valleys, forests, and grasslands. You can find these tarantulas in silk-lined burrows in abandoned rodent dens and other natural crevices.

Texas Brown tarantulas typically have a brown abdomen, black or dark brown legs, and a light brown or pale tan head. These spiders’ bodies grow up to two inches in length, and their leg span can be upwards of four inches.

They are the biggest spider in Missouri, so they are easily identifiable. This species is covered in tiny brown hairs with long red/orange hairs on its abdomen. The females are lighter and tend to grow bigger than the males.

These tarantulas are nocturnal hunters and survive off a diet of tiny insects like beetles, grasshoppers, and cockroaches.

Unlike other spiders, tarantulas don’t use webs to catch the food they hunt on the ground. When they capture their prey, they inject them with venom that helps liquefy it and make it easier to digest.

Tarantulas venom is not harmful to humans, and their bites feel similar to a beesting. This species mating season has been observed to vary between summer and fall depending on location.

FAQ

Are Tarantulas In Missouri Dangerous?

Tarantulas are very docile and non-aggressive. It’s rare to get bitten by a tarantula, but in the off chance that someone does, the bite itself may be slightly painful due to the large size of their fangs, but their venom is not harmful to humans. If a tarantula feels threatened, they have tiny hairs on their belly that they kick at the potential threat. These hairs can cause itching or a rash and, in rare cases, an allergic reaction. 

Are Tarantulas In Missouri Endangered? 

The one species found in the state is not currently considered endangered. They are widespread though some habitats may be at risk of habitat destruction by humans. If you find a tarantula in the wild, it’s best to leave it where you found it to help keep the local population thriving. 

Wrapping up

Though there is only one known tarantula species in Missouri, they are prevalent throughout most of the state.

Tarantulas are important predators that help control the populations of creatures they consume. These spiders are helpful on farmlands due to agricultural pests being a part of their diet.

The species of tarantula found in Missouri are non-aggressive but are very shy and tend to avoid humans as much as possible.

It’s rare to be bitten by a tarantula, but they have tiny nettle-like hairs on their belly that they use as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. These hairs can cause itching and rash, and in rare cases, they can cause severe allergic reactions.

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